Customers require more precision, ability to drill deeper
By Bill Koenig, Senior Editor
Producers of holemaking equipment face certain inevitabilities. Their customers require the ability to drill more precise holes and drill them faster and deeper. That means they’re looking for better and longer-lasting drills, even amid the expanding use of more exotic materials, such as Inconel and titantium, which are harder on equipment.
“When discussing the relationship between holemaking and advanced manufacturing, I think we are talking about speed, accuracy and reliability,” said Luke Pollock, product manager at Walter USA (Waukesha, WI).
“Drilling products need to produce accurate and consistent holes reliably. Having to stop the automated process to clear birdnests slows the process and defeats the purpose of automating the process,” he said in an e-mail.
“Holemaking tools have to be consistent, reliable and be of high quality in order to be successful in automated manufacturing,” said Chad Lynch, design development team specialist-product manager for Allied Machine & Engineering Corp. (Dover, OH).
“If a customer starts a job and expects 1000 holes per drill, then the drill design needs to be capable of always producing to the level needed,” said Joe Kueter, director of manufacturing and engineering at M.A. Ford Manufacturing Co. (Davenport, IA). “The details of the application, such as hole depth, can make a difference in the design of the tool. Some thin part materials can benefit from tool designs that cut with less force.”
Producers of holemaking equipment also have to take into account the geometry of drills, various types of coatings and removing chips as drilling occurs. Such factors “must be applied in the right balance in accordance to the material and holemaking application,” said Marlon Blandon, thread mills manager for Emuge Corp. (West Boylston, MA).
What follows are examples of how producers of holemaking equipment are adjusting to industry changes.
“Customers are machining more and more superalloys,” said Nika Alex, a product specialist for drilling at Mitsubishi Materials USA Corp. (Fountain Valley, CA). “Tool life is generally very poor in these types of materials. Customers are asking for longer tool life.”
The company is developing a new MVS drill for deep-hole drilling, which is to come out in spring 2016. The new drill is to have a harder grade “which should translate into longer tool life,” Alex said. It will also have larger coolant holes to reduce heat and “evacuate the chips quicker out of the hole.”
Alex said, in general, double margin drills add strength and produce more accurate holes. “Since manufacturing is becoming more automated, the machines are being untended, therefore, a strong, reliable drill is very important. Double margin drills give you that added security.”
‘Higher Speeds and Feeds’
“The rising use of high-temp alloys forces tool manufacturers to design holemaking tools to run with higher speeds and feeds,” said Emuge’s Blandon. “Materials like titanium and Inconel are driving special geometry and coatings of drilling tools.”
Emuge’s EF-VA geometry is designed for titanium and stainless steels. The drills have an increased back taper for “maximum stability and chip control when used in these difficult materials,” Blandon said.
The company said its EF Series drill works well in 718 Inconel. EF solid carbide drills have a double margin design with a “proprietary coating and carbide substrate.”
M.A. Ford offers various high-performance products as well as a custom tool division that “seeks out the best carbide, geometry and coatings for demanding operations which do not allow a standard product,” Kueter said.
The company tries to design drills that can work on a variety of materials, Kueter said. The Cyclone CXD double margin drill, for example, covers a range of materials from carbon steel to titanium. The manufacturer also offers its 305 series micro drill “due to the increased number of micro holes being produced in medical and aerospace applications,” Kueter said.
Improving tool life requires constantly improving the product line, Kueter said. “It’s a combination of consistent, high-performance carbide grades, enhanced grinding techniques and new and improved coatings,” he said.
Customer demands have “necessitated us continuing to test new and improved tool designs, carbide grades and coatings,” Kueter said. Company research and development engineers “work with customers to find the best drilling solutions for the most difficult applications.”
Longer Tool Life
“The use of more difficult-to-machine materials has caused the tooling manufacturers to look at the entire machining process,” said Walter USA’s Luke Pollock. “Coatings are becoming thinner, which helps retain sharp cutting edges.”
“Walter has been focused on solid carbide deep-hole drilling for some time,” he said. “We currently offer solid carbide drills up to 50×D as a stock standard item and up to 70×D available on special order.”
The company’s most recent production introduction is its DC170 drill. According to Walter, the DC170’s design results in increased cutting diameters and longer tool life. Walter also has introduced its DB133 drill in 5 and 8×D lengths and diameters as small as 0.5 mm diam.
Sumitomo Electric Carbide Inc. (Mount Pleasant, IL) has come out with its line of MDW-GS drills the company said represents an improvement over its old MDS.
MDS “works well in steels but had tough times in stainless with the standard edge prep as well as in exotic materials,” Rich Maton, engineering manager for Sumitomo, said in an e-mail.
The new drill “lends itself well to steels, stainless steels and exotic materials,” he said. “The tool life is very good, even in deep-hole applications. Yes, customers are demanding deeper hole applications and harder materials to drill.”
In terms of product cycle, he said, “On the drill line we typically keep them around for at least five to seven years but continually revise if we find a better coating or design change to help the customer out.”
Sumitomo also has a manufacturing plant in New Berlin, WI, where customers can send drills back for regrinding and reconditioning, Maton said.
“This ensures the customer can get consistent tool life time after time and have the exact same point and coating put on the used drills as their new drills.”
Talking to Customers
Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding Inc. (MITGI; Hutchinson, MN) services customers in the medical device and aerospace industries.
“We frequently have conversations with our customers about how we can solve problems they have in difficult-to-machine materials,” Eric Lipke, the company’s president, said in an e-mail. “Some of the most common issues our customers face are related to the hard materials they are using. Often, we’ll need to look at a variety of tool features.”
“We review each job to ensure that we can meet the complex requirements of that specific situation,” he said.
MITGI often produces customized tools. “For many customers, specials are the answer to complex manufacturing jobs,” said Jennie Nelson, the company’s director of sales and marketing. “Many of our customers face extremely short timelines from their own customers, especially when developing prototypes or bidding on projects.”
MITGI also is expanding its lineup of standard drills, including its Coolant Thru Micro Drills and Metric Coolant Thru Micro Drills.
“As our customers continue to move toward smaller, more precise, and more complex drills, so will we,” Nelson said.
Iscar Metals Inc. (Arlington, TX) is on the third generation of its SumoCham line of drills, which has a replaceable tip which “can be quickly changed allowing for quick and accurate replacement of the drilling insert on the machine,” Pat Cline, the company’s national drilling product manager, said in an e-mail.
The SumoCham line has been engineered “to securely hold the drilling insert and to distribute forces to large support pillars that help keep the insert in its pocket and minimize the deformation of the pocket in the cutter body,” Cline said.
Iscar also markets the ChamIQ drill, which expands the company’s drilling diameter range to 1.570″ (40 mm), Cline said.
Ingersoll Cutting Tools USA (Rockford, IL) has introduced the Deep-Trio line of drills, intended to drill deeper holes faster.
The line has a diameter range of 0.630 to 1.102″ (16–28 mm) in lengths up to 94.488″ (2400 mm) for BTA and gundrill customers and a version for use on lathes and mills up to 40× diameter, John Lundholm, product manager for deep hole and gundrills, said in an e-mail.
Ingersoll introduced new geometries for its Gold-Twist line and a new Spade-Twist drill with a quick-change tip. It has a range of 26 to 41 mm.
At Seco Tools (Troy, MI), “Right now my focus is our custom design program,” Manfred Lenz, product manager-holemaking, said in an e-mail.
“This is an Internet-based program off of our Web site that is available to our sales force and distributors to be able to quote custom drills and reamers in a matter of minutes. It also supplies an approval drawing with the quote.” The custom drills are manufactured in the United States.
Ceratizit USA Inc. (Warren, MI) has introduced the MaxiDrill 900, which the company said has four cutting edges per insert and a geometry that allows a single insert to be used for both the in-board and out-board positions. The portfolio has a diameter range of 0.625–2.25″ (16–57 mm) and special sizes upon request. MaxiDrill 900 can be used in applications such as cross hole, stack drilling, drilling on uneven surfaces and chain drilling. The newest addition to the product line is the CTCP420. This insert is used only in the out-board position.
This article was first published in the March 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read “Holemaking Equipment Keeps Up With Demand” as a PDF.
Published Date : 3/1/2016